Jakarta: Former Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama may not make a comeback within the government’s high ranks as the man, who now prefers to be called “BTP”, said he believed his political career was over.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is expected to unveil his Cabinet for his second term – which may comprise some new big names – but Ahok immediately dismissed the idea that he might be chosen as a minister, saying it was impossible.
“(My image) is already impaired in this Republic,” Ahok said on Monday, “I am not being pessimistic in this case, I am just spilling out the facts.”
“The majority of religious people have branded me as a blasphemer, while upper-middle class residents, especially women, are angry about my divorce and my (remarriage).
“So, in fact (my political career) is already over,” the 53-year-old said as quoted by kompas.com.
Ahok was convicted of blasphemy in 2017, following a series of sectarian rallies staged by Muslim conservatives in the capital who demanded the then-governor to be prosecuted for a speech they believed to be blasphemous.
The case played a major role in Ahok’s defeat in the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election, which observers said was marred by deep polarisation and religious tension.
He was released from prison earlier this year after serving nearly two years.
Ahok and his former wife Veronica Tan finalised their divorce last year after he filed a divorce petition with the North Jakarta District Court on Jan 5 over allegations of infidelity on Veronica’s part.
Sometime after his release, he was rumoured to have had a wedding ceremony with policewoman Puput Nastiti Devi, who previously served as the aide of his ex-wife.
Ahok has said he is planning to host his own talk show instead. — The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network
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